The new Opel Astra: brilliant, but there is a problem
Opel Astra is a representative of a new wave of products in the line of the German manufacturer that is finding its direction again under the wings of Stellentis.
In the Astra's case it has an excellent product with three very serious problems
Friday, September 30, 2022, 12:42 p.m. Updated: 1:03 p.m.
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A new, excellent generation, at the forefront of compact family cars (Photo: Ronan Topelberg)
Sometimes it's funny how global processes in the car industry meet similar situations in small Israel.
When the Stelantis concern rescued Opel from General Motors, it saved a manufacturer with a glorious history that had been trampled by a clumsy, tired and bureaucratic American corporation.
Meanwhile in Israel, at the same time more or less the import franchise of this brand was transferred to the David Lubinski company.
Both abroad and in Israel, this company has gone through something like 20 years of eating kapas one after the other, of deteriorating one after the other while eroding this brand name to the bone, Opal was a manufacturer with a lot of ambition but without anyone telling it - "Come on, here The
- do what you know how to do best.
Makes maximum use of the large company's resources - a bit of a challenge.
In the GS Line trim level, it comes with a blackened nose (Photo: Ronan Toppelberg)
So the first differentiation, of the external appearance, the new Astra does excellently.
She, together with the Mocha present the new look of Opel, it is contemporary, sharp, technological.
And when it is imported to Israel with the appearance package of the GS LINE with its sporty appearance and blackened appearance, it has a real presence.
The cabin is German human engineering cliché at its best.
There are physical buttons that are exactly where they need to be, a volume dial, piano controls for mixing, there are straight and chiseled lines, storage compartments, everything is in place, there are no all kinds of design gibberish and davenies.
In most places you will find very good material quality, excellent assembly quality, excellent driving position and with plenty of directions for the electric driver's seat including extending the seat base.
The yellow launch color comes at no extra cost (Photo: Ronan Topelberg)
The space in the back is very impressive, plenty of room for legs, knees and head despite the sunroof.
Air conditioning outlets will make it easier for those sitting here in the Israeli summer and there is also a USB socket for charging.
The space in the back is surprising because the wheelbase of the car has not changed significantly, but no less surprising is the trunk which also manages to register a volume of 422 liters, one of the largest in its group, with a convenient loading opening and still not giving up a full spare wheel.
In its attempt to position itself half a head above the competition, Opel Astra comes with a long list of accessories.
We mentioned the electric driver's seat, the passenger's with electric adjustment to the base of the seat, a panoramic sunroof, sophisticated LED matrix lighting, split climate control, leather and fabric upholstered seats and more.
The battery of safety systems is also impressive and full.
Efficient and functional in the passenger cabin (photo: Ronan Topelberg)
While at its global launch we drove the plug-in version of the Astra, which was an excellent combination of performance and economy.
At this stage, the 1.2-liter, three-cylinder turbo version that produces 130 hp and 23.4 kg, mated to an automatic transmission with 8 transmission ratios, is coming to the market in Israel.
It's an engine that manages to function fine in small cars - but not here.
He is too weak, too hard, too loud.
This box that was wonderful 6-7 years ago when it was introduced is less impressive today, the gear shifts are slower and its response to downshifts on acceleration is hesitant.
The combination between the two here is the main and clear weak point of the car.
So unfortunate that a pack with such high capabilities has to live with this combination.
And the dynamic capabilities are certainly high, the car turns excellently, with a high level of responsiveness to the steering command.
Even with the test car's fuel-saving tires it was possible to get a good amount of grip.
The body itself is restrained, does not "disperse" during weight transfers, and also in the slalom test and changes of direction it does not get confused.
Very good spacing, air conditioning ports and a USB socket (photo: Ronen Topelberg)
The comfort of the urban ride is not amazing, also due to the relatively stiff calibration of the shock absorbers which is noticeable when going over potholes, but mainly due to the choice of "sporty" rims with a diameter of 18 inches with a 40-section tire. You are a compact family with 130 hp, what about you and this tire. Fast The higher the comfort, the better, and if it weren't for the tire noise present (which can be solved by changing to quieter tires, the car came with Michelin Pramsi tires that are not like that) - it was one of the most pleasant compacts for covering intercity distances.
At the end of the test days and after almost 700 km together, the Astra recorded a consumption Average fuel consumption of 13.1 km per liter. Only reasonable consumption for a car of its type, much of which was due to the need to use the engine in too many situations.
422 liters in the trunk and a full spare wheel.
Opal, explain to the rest how to do it (photo: Keinan Cohen)
Launching a compact car at a time when everyone wants to sit high in Jeeps is not an easy thing, to do it in Israel, which was particularly affected by this trend, is doubly difficult.
Now add to the challenge a European brand that since the Kadett/Ascona days has not shown a dramatic presence in the market and a model like Astra that in recent years has worn out even more and worn out due to too widespread distribution in vehicle fleets.
Fortunately for Opel, the car it markets, the new Astra is an excellent compact family at its core and excellent potential.
It looks good, the equipment is excellent, the level of safety is outstanding, the quality is very high, the behavior is excellent and I wish our summary would end here.
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To the full article
The road behavior is excellent, it deserves a much better engine (Photo: Ronan Topelberg)
he is not.
The new Astra has a problem at the product level and a problem at the market level.
The first concerns its engine and gearbox, if the rest of the car were not impressive, it would be fine, but it is made to a very high standard that deserves much more than what it offers.
It was possible to do it, and to match it with the stronger and bigger engine, but it would also affect the price, which leads to the second point - the market.
Opel Astra is priced at NIS 159,000.
It looks more expensive in the group of compact family cars like a straight Golf in the white of the LED headlights.
And it is very expensive in itself, it is expensive for a car that has to work its way into the hearts of customers who, unlike those in Germany or Europe, here do not see it as such a competitor in terms of its perception.
During the global launch, there was talk of prices that would match those of the Volkswagen Golf, i.e. between 135 and 158 thousand shekels, but the recent price increases did not go unnoticed by Opel and in addition the importer's intention to position it as a brand above the popular ones.
But there are no shortcuts in life and to reach this status she has to work.
Bottom line, Opel has a really good product to work with back to where it deserves to be, it just needs the right pricing for it.
This car deserves to be successful, but an image change doesn't happen in a day (Photo: Ronan Toppelberg)
On the technical side: Opel Astra 1.2 liter
gasoline, turbo, 3 cylinders, front
automatic, 8 gears
length (s "m":
Acceleration 0-100 (seconds):
Maximum speed (km/h):
Fuel consumption (test):
Seat Leon, Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus